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Sharon Hodgson MP calls on new Culture Secretary to act on secondary ticketing

By | Published on Friday 19 August 2016

Ticket touts

Sharon Hodgson MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse, has written to new Culture Secretary Karen Bradley calling on her to implement greater protections for sport and music fans against ticket touts, not least by enforcing existing laws regarding the resale of tickets, both online and old-school outside the venue.

Following the previously reported launch of the music industry-led anti-tout FanFair campaign, which came in the wake of the government’s own report on secondary ticketing, Hodgson, Kerry McCarthy MP, Nigel Adams MP and Reg Walker of Iridium Consultancy went on a ‘fact-finding mission’ to Wembley Stadium. There they observed touts selling tickets to a football game between Liverpool and Barcelona. Unlike music events, selling tickets to football matches without authorisation is illegal in the UK.

In her letter to Bradley, Hodgson notes that there was touting openly going on, starting at Wembley Park tube station all the way down to the stadium, with around 30 touts offering tickets to the match. Listing some of those who lost out because of this situation, she said that a teenage Barcelona fan had been sold a ticket for £170 and told its face value was £100, when it was in fact £26. A Spanish family, meanwhile, were turned away at the gate, when they were told that tickets they had bought from a tout were invalid for entry.

A number of the touts in attendance were already well-known to authorities. One of them, Roger Leigh, is the business partner of David Spanton, who was recently jailed for selling unauthorised tickets.

Commenting on the visit to Wembley, Hodgson says: “Following our fact-finding mission to Wembley, we uncovered the scope and scale of ticket touts operating on the ground and fleecing fans desperate to get tickets to a hotly anticipated football match at our national stadium. The fact-finding clearly reaffirmed the need for action to be taken by the government”.

She continues: “This is why I have written to the new Culture Secretary asking her to support our campaign by working with her colleagues in the Department For Business, Energy And Industrial Strategy and begin to implement the recommendations in the Waterson Review and with campaign groups, like FanFair Alliance, and finally ensure fans are put first is this unfair market”.

Read Hodgson’s letter in full here.

Elsewhere in secondary ticketing news, online face-value ticket exchange Twickets is partnering with HMV’s Fopp stores to provide drop-off locations nationwide. People wishing to buy or sell unwanted tickets at their original face value will be given the option to make their exchange using Fopp as a middleman. The service opened at Fopp’s Manchester store yesterday, with plans to roll out to other locations in due course.

“We want to make it easier for music fans to purchase official gig tickets at face value, and stop them losing out to touts and secondary sites selling at inflated prices with exorbitant booking fees”, says Twickets founder Richard Davis. “It’s fantastic to be working with highly respected specialist retailer Fopp, and we hope this new in-store service will allow more fans to be able to see their favourite artists without needing to scrimp and save to pay scalpers’ fees”.

CMU Premium subscribers can read our recent analysis of the secondary ticketing market here. To become a premium subscriber for just £5 per month, click here.